Firestone 175 Fast Facts
When: 2:30 p.m. ET Saturday, April 18
Track: Twin Ring Motegi, a four-turn, egg-shaped, 1.549-mile oval in Motegi, Japan. Turn banking: 10 degrees.
Race distance: 113 laps/175 miles/281.6 km (approximately 75 minutes)
Expected pit stops: Two. Fuel window is expected to be approximately 40 laps. Cars will be allowed one “Fast Repair” during the race.
TV/Online: 2:30 p.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN, NBCSports.com, NBC Sports App. Leigh Diffey is the lead announcer, alongside the network’s INDYCAR analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy, and pit reporter Marty Snider. The pre-race activities will be highlighted by Big Machine Records country music star Carly Pearce singing the national anthem and global motorsports legend Mario Andretti giving the command to start engines. The podium finishers will be interviewed on the live NBCSN broadcast. Diffey also will host a post-race virtual press conference with the podium finishers for media members (call-in details will be distributed).
Spotter guide: Click here to see a detailed spotter guide for this Saturday’s race.
• Simon Pagenaud (Team Penske) won Round 3 of the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge on Saturday, April 11, the Chevrolet 275 at Michigan International Speedway. He beat Team Penske teammate Scott McLaughlin by 13.4059 seconds in a race with thrilling action eventually decided by fuel strategy.
• Sage Karam (Dreyer & Reinbold Racing) won the inaugural round of the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge on Saturday, March 28, the American Red Cross Grand Prix at Watkins Glen International. Scott McLaughlin (Team Penske) won Round 2 on Saturday, April 4, the Virtual Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park.
• Two-time and reigning Virgin Australia Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin (Team Penske), from New Zealand, has the best overall record in the series in the No. 2 Shell V-Power Team Penske Dallara, finishing fourth at Watkins Glen, winning at Barber and placing second at Michigan. Veteran sim racer McLaughlin has produced this impressive record despite competing in series races during the middle of the night in Australia, where he lives.
• In an example of the virtual world mirroring the real world, Team Penske is the team to beat so far in the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge. Penske is the only team to score a podium finish in each of the first three races. Will Power placed third in Round 1 at Watkins Glen, Scott McLaughlin won Round 2 at Barber with Power placing second, and Simon Pagenaud won Round 3 at Michigan, with McLaughlin second.
• Sage Karam (Dreyer & Reinbold Racing) is the only driver to lead laps in all three races of this virtual series, also winning the opener at Watkins Glen in the No. 24 DRR WIX Filters Chevrolet. He also has led the most laps in all three races, pacing a dominant 116 of the 175 combined laps so far (66 percent).
• Participation continues to climb in the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge. The field for the Firestone 175 will consist of 33 drivers. Round 3 at Michigan International Speedway had 31 drivers April 11, up from 29 taking the green flag April 4 at Barber Motorsports Park. The series opener March 28 at Watkins Glen had 25 drivers.
• The Firestone 175, Round 4 of 6 in the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge, is the second consecutive oval race in the virtual series, after the Chevrolet 275 at Michigan International Speedway. The first two rounds took place on natural-terrain road courses, at Watkins Glen International and Barber Motorsports Park. Future venues include the Circuit of the Americas road course on Saturday, April 25 and a non-INDYCAR “Dream” track Saturday, May 2.
• Four new drivers will join the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge in the Firestone 175: two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch (INDYCAR Provisional), three-time Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge winner Helio Castroneves (INDYCAR Provisional), 2017 Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing) and Rinus VeeKay (Ed Carpenter Racing.).
• Fourteen Indy car races have been conducted at Twin Ring Motegi from 1998-2011. Adrian Fernandez won the first, on March 28, 1998, while Scott Dixon won the most recent, on Sept. 18, 2011. Danica Patrick made history at the circuit April 20, 2008, becoming the only female driver to win an INDYCAR race.
• Ten drivers in the field for the Firestone 175 on Saturday also competed in the last INDYCAR event at Twin Ring Motegi on Sept. 18, 2011: Scott Dixon (winner), Will Power